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US: Helicopter with state workers crashes into Alaska lake; no survivors found

The wreckage was found in a shallow lake near Wainwright, about 50 miles south to southwest of Utqiagvik, the northernmost city in the US, formerly known as Barrow.

Edited By: Hritika Mitra @MitraHritika Anchorage (Alaska) Updated on: July 22, 2023 12:18 IST
A North Slope Borough search and rescue team in a
Image Source : AP A North Slope Borough search and rescue team in a helicopter found debris matching the description of the missing helicopter, but officials said no bodies of the pilot or three passengers had been seen or recovered.

A helicopter crash in Alaska's North Slope region left no survivors, officials said on Friday. The aircraft carried a pilot and three state workers. The helicopter had been chartered by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, the department said in a statement on Friday.

It was carrying three employees from the Division of Geological and Geophysical Survey who had been conducting fieldwork. “DNR is praying for our employees and the pilot, their families, and the DNR team,” the statement said. “We are continuing to await updates from the search and rescue effort.”

The helicopter, a Bell 206, was reported overdue Thursday night. A North Slope Borough search and rescue team in a helicopter found debris matching the description of the missing helicopter, but no bodies had been seen or recovered, D.J. Fauske, the borough's director of government and external affairs, said in a text to The Associated Press on Friday.

The wreckage was found in a shallow lake near Wainwright, about 50 miles south to southwest of Utqiagvik, the northernmost city in the US, formerly known as Barrow. The flight originated in Utqiagvik and was supposed to return there, said Clint Johnson, chief of the National Transportation Safety Board's Alaska region. Johnson said he did not immediately have further information on the flight details.

The helicopter was operated by Maritime Helicopters Inc., according to a statement on the company's website. It confirmed the accident was fatal and said names of the pilot and passengers would be released pending notification of next of kin. The borough notified the Federal Aviation Administration and state officials as well as NTSB, Fauske said. “The borough is here to help and we will pray for the missing,” he said.

(With inputs from AP)

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